Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland – Book Review

The thing I still struggle with the most when it comes to cycle trips and big rides is the idea. Something that truly grabs me and “inspires” me to get just a big fitter and spend the time sorting out the route and logistics. That’s where a book like this is really useful to have on your shelf. Lots of big ride inspiration in Great Britain and Ireland (also a bit of France), all broken down easily (distance/time of year/road, gravel, mountain, gravel bike etc) so you can see at a glance what each one will need to complete it. It gets straight to the point and guides you straight to the information you will need to prepare and go.

Reading up on many of the routes I have already undertaken I see that the information is valuable, accurate and the history of the areas is interesting. It’s bit like a Lonely Planet guide to cycling routes, with more photos and route overview maps. The book is not intended to provide all the information you will need, it lacks things like detailed route maps including hotels/campsites, but it does suggest accommodation types and offer website links to detailed routes or guidebooks. With 25 routes detailed in the book there are many that I was really not aware of that sound really interesting. All of the well-known routes are included like: Land’s End to John O’Groats, Wild Atlantic Way, C2C, Avenue Verte (a London to Paris route), North Coast 500 and the Hebridean Way. 

My only criticism would be that it seems to overstate the gravel and touring bike requirement a bit. It seems like there are not many road bike routes in there at first glance, but really it depends on you. In the age of bikepacking bags and ultra-lightweight kit everything can be a touring bike if you pack light enough. I did Land’s End to John O’Groats on a road bike with a pair of flip flops tied to the handlebars and a big saddlebag (sleeping at hostels and B&Bs). So take one pinch of salt and one pinch of common sense to these suggestions. They just mean that unless you plan on doing it in a single day as a very long challenge ride (or have some support) you might need to carry some kit with you.

The book is available directly from the publishers here: Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland – Vertebrate Publishing (

Or from Amazon here:

Big Rides: Great Britain & Ireland on Amazon

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